Pandora’s Box – A Fable From the Age of Science (1992) P2 – To The Brink of Eternity by Adam Curtis

Pandora’s Box, subtitled A Fable From the Age of Science, is a BBC television documentary series by Adam Curtis looking at the consequences of political and technocratic rationalism. It won a BAFTA for Best Factual Series in 1993.

This episode, originally broadcast on 18 June 1992, outlines how the United States government and its departments attempted to use systems analysis and game theory to develop strategies to control the nuclear threat and nuclear arms race during the Cold War, and, more specifically, to manage the “loss of control” crises encountered during events such as the Space Race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War.

The focus is on the men on whom Dr Strangelove was allegedly based: Herman Kahn, Albert Wohlstetter and John von Neumann. These were mathematical analysts employed by the American RAND Corporation to examine issues of America’s national security in the nuclear age.

Adam Curtis (born 1955) is an English documentary filmmaker. Curtis says that his favourite theme is "power and how it works in society", and his works explore areas of sociology, philosophy and political history. Curtis describes his work as journalism that happens to be expounded via the medium of film. His films have won four BAFTAs. He has been closely associated with the BBC throughout his career.

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